Filed: Sunday, 16th October 2005
By: Matthew O'Greel
West Ham find themselves a goal behind at the break against Manchester City at The City of Manchester Stadium.
An Andy Cole goal seperates the two sides at the break in a half where both teams have created several opportunities.
The first major chance of the half fell to Manchester City's Danny Mills after 11 minutes. The former England full-back rose highest to meet Kizito Musampa's corner but his glancing header was cleared off the line by Yossi Benayoun, standing guard on the far post.
Andrew 'Andy' Cole opened the scoring on 18 minutes when he latched on to a short pass from Darius Vassell after City caught the Hammers short at the back; the veteran striker cleverly lifted his shot from the corner of the six yard box over Roy Carroll into the far corner.
Paul Konchesky stopped a certain second when he cleared a glancing strike from Vassell off the line five minutes later; once again Tomas Repka was the culprit as he completely missed a tackle allowing Musampa the freedom of the pitch.
West Ham had to wait until the 27th minute for their first real clear cut opportunity; Matthew Etherington escaped his marker on the right flank and crossed for Marlon Harewood who was free in the box. Unfortunately for the Hammers the cross arrived slightly behind Harewood and he failed to connect with Sylvan Distin bearing down upon him.
Harewood - playing as the lone striker - continued to give City problems and was unlucky not to win a free-kick on the edge of the box four minutes later when he appeared to be pulled down by Distin as he raced through on goal; TV cameras confirmed that the City defender was lucky to escape with what would have been at least a yellow card had the decision gone West Ham's way.
Roy Carroll - playing with a broken thumb sustained during West Ham's last Premiership outing at Sunderland - had to make a good save from close range after Matty Etherington's poor clearance; Danny Mills stinging Carroll's hands with a rasping drive from some 12 yards out.
As the game ebbed and flowed West Ham had a good chance to break on 36 minutes as the ball bounced kindly for Matthew Etherington 40 yards from the City goal. Unfortunately Etherington's attempted pass to Paul Konchesky - breaking down the flank - was overhit and ran out harmlessly for a goal kick.
The Hammers had another good chance on 44 minutes when Etherington again found space on the flank; his cross found Harewood but the Hammers striker failed to connect cleanly and City keeper David James gathered the resulting loose ball.
The final action of the half came in the closing seconds when Paul Konchesky was called into action for a second time on the line when he was forced to nod away a Distin header from another Musampa corner; that being the Hammers' third goal line clearance of the half.
Former Manchester United players Roy Carroll and Teddy Sheringham were unsurprisingly booed on every touch by the home supporters; Sheringham's former strike partner at United, Andrew Cole getting something of a warmer reception after scoring the only goal of the half.
All in all plenty of food for thought for Alan Pardew at half-time; although the Hammers are creating chances their attacking stance has inevitably left holes at the back - which City are capitalising on.
West Ham United: Carroll; Repka, Konchesky, Ferdinand, Gabbidon; Mullins, Reo-Coker, Benayoun, Etherington, Sheringham; Harewood.
Manchester City: James, Mills, Onuoha, Jordan, Distin; Reyna, Ireland, Barton, Musampa; Vassell, Cole.
Booked: Musampa (34 mins - deliberate trip on Harewood)
Goals: Cole (18)
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